Knicks land Big East Player of the Year in 2nd round of 2024 NBA Draft

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament South Regional-NC State vs Marquette, knicks
Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks, despite trading five first-round picks for Mikal Bridges, maintained a first-round selection in the 2024 NBA draft and a second-round pick, in which they secured the services of Tyler Kolek out of Marquette on Thursday afternoon.

Tyler Kolek: A Standout from Marquette

The 6-foot-1 and 197-pound guard may be a bit undersized, but he was the Big East Player of the Year this past season and a 2x All-Big East player.

Kolek spent the last three years of his collegiate career with Marquette, averaging 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 7.7 assists this past season. Over 33 minutes per game, he shot 49.6% from the field and 38.8% from three-point range. He’s an extremely efficient scorer and an even better playmaker with the ball in his hands.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament South Regional-NC State vs Marquette
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Addressing the Knicks’ Playmaking Void

The Knicks lacked a true playmaker behind Jalen Brunson, so Kolek is a perfect fit off the bench. He’s a player the Knicks had been scouting for quite some time. In fact, it was believed he might be a first-round pick in the draft, and the Knicks managed to get him with the 34th overall selection. He was the 13th-ranked guard in the class and the 25th-ranked overall player, suggesting the Knicks got good value where he was selected.

Kolek’s Role and Potential Impact

Kolek may not be the most physically gifted player, but he is a floor general and operates an offense at a high level with tremendous vision. He’s able to cut to the basket and find open shooters on the perimeter, but he finished with good savviness. Despite having average physical tools in some areas, elite instincts are sometimes the difference between a good and a great player.

Some have compared Kolek to Goran Dragic, given their ability to pick apart opposing defenses. Of course, it’s important to note that Kolek is three inches shorter, so that does play a big difference in their play styles.

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